News World Australia has slowed the spread. Elsewhere, deaths are rising fast
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Australia has slowed the spread. Elsewhere, deaths are rising fast

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Coronavirus deaths are climbing rapidly in four countries outside the United States, and Latin America is bearing the brunt of it.

Global cases have passed 6.5 million, with the official death toll nearing 400,000.

Australia has done well to contain the pandemic to little more than 7200 cases and 103 deaths, but Brazil, Russia, Mexico and Peru have all reported soaring death tolls as the countries’ leaders fail – or in Brazil’s case, do not even attempt – to control the virus’s spread.

Russia

Russia has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases behind the US and Brazil.

So far, there have been 432,277 cases of coronavirus infections reported in the trans-continental country and 5215 deaths.

Infection rates have been rising, with 178 people dying on Wednesday alone.

Like China, Russia’s track record on press freedom is dismal, making it near impossible to know exactly how many people have died from COVID-19.

The country’s method of counting cases and death numbers has been controversial, too.

Thousands of Russian deaths have reportedly not been attributed to the coronavirus in cases where the deceased suffered other conditions.

This means that if a person dies of a heart attack but was diagnosed with COVID-19, the official cause of death will be recorded as a heart attack.

Russia’s dubious counting method may also account for Russia’s relatively low death rate compared to other countries like Italy.

Brazil

For weeks, Brazil has been a major concern.

On Thursday, over a period of 24 hours, the Latin American nation recorded a staggering 582 new cases and at least 21 deaths.

Brazil now has more than 550,000 cases, and more than 30,000 people have died, according to official figures.

And the country’s President Jair Bolsonaro isn’t helping.

The right-wing leader has long fought against social distancing measures aimed at containing the virus, which he famously described as a “little flu”, in favour of reopening the economy.

He has also been defying health officials by promoting anti-malarial drugs as a possible cure.

Mexico

Mexico only has a fraction of Brazil or Russia’s confirmed coronavirus cases, but its numbers are rising steeply – and will continue to climb as the government moves ahead with easing lockdown restrictions.

On Thursday, the country’s daily death toll hit a new record of 1092.

There have been at least 97,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Mexico, according to the National Agency of Science and Technology.

As of Thursday morning, 10,637 people had died.

The worst-affected are Mexico City, the state surrounding it and Baja California in the north.

Critics of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have argued he was too slow to impose lockdown restrictions and has been too quick to lift them.

Peru

Unlike other countries hit hard by the coronavirus, Peru was quick to enter lockdown.

The country only had 71 cases on March 15 when President Martín Vizcarra declared a national state of emergency, closing Peru’s borders and banning Peruvians from leaving their houses except to buy essential goods or to do essential work.

It was one of the earliest quarantines in Latin America, but now Peru has the world’s second-highest per capita rate of new infections per day.

Some public health experts have claimed living and working conditions in Mexico, where a fifth of people live on only around $100 a month, has made it near impossible for many Peruvians to comply with quarantine measures.

More than 4800 people have died, and more than 178,914 cases have been recorded so far.